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OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has filed a proposed rule to change the state listing status of the western gray squirrel from “threatened” to “endangered” based on the recommendation and information summarized in a recent periodic status review and public comments received on the document. The public is invited to submit comments about the proposed rule change through Oct. 2.
The proposal, if adopted, reclassifies the western gray squirrel as a Washington state endangered species, communicating a higher level of conservation concern for the species, their conservation needs, and recovery actions with partners and the public. The uplisting would also bring an increased penalty for unlawfully harming or killing a western gray squirrel, per state rule.
A copy of the rule making proposal is available on WDFW’s website. The comment period is open through Oct. 2, and the public can submit comments via web form, by email, or by phone (855-925-2801, project code 6483). The public may also mail written comments to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife ATTN: Wildlife Program, PO Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504.
The Fish and Wildlife Commission will accept in-person and virtual public comments on the proposed rule change at a public hearing during their Sept. 28-30 meeting in Yakima. Those interested in providing comments during the meeting should pre-register online. Information on how to pre-register will be made available on the Commission Meeting webpage. A decision is tentatively scheduled for the October 2023 meeting.
All members of the public are invited to share their perspectives and participate in WDFW public feedback opportunities regardless of race, color, sex, age, national origin, language proficiency, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, status as a veteran, or basis of disability.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife, and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.